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Don't Even Think About It

Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Environment
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Summary

Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall's search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world's leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals. What he discovered is that our values, assumptions, and prejudices can take on lives of their own, gaining authority as they are shared, dividing people in their wake.

With engaging stories and drawing on years of his own research, Marshall argues that the answers do not lie in the things that make us different and drive us apart, but rather in what we all share: how our human brains are wired - our evolutionary origins, our perceptions of threats, our cognitive blind spots, our love of storytelling, our fear of death, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. Once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink and reimagine climate change, for it is not an impossible problem. Rather, it is one we can halt if we can make it our common purpose and common ground. Silence and inaction are the most persuasive of narratives, so we need to change the story. In the end, Don't Even Think About It is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human and how we can grow as we deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.

©2014 George Marshall (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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Climate change is just the frame - in a good way

Broadly speaking, this is a book about communication; phycology; values; bias; trust, and culture. It applies current research to all these areas (and more) to explain the why's and how's behind our situation in facing an 'us and them' battle (between 'believers' and 'deniers'). The author then goes further to discuss how environmentalists might change that situation, by giving examples linked to politics and religion. There is thorough exploration of the things we should stop doing, (by giving examples of failed campaigns) and the direction communicators, and scientists, should be going.

It's a very well written book and had me laughing in parts, I think the British audience may appreciate that side a little more since the author is from the UK. The author clearly knows what's he's talking about and evidently has a lot of experience from environmental campaigning. I would suggest he's deliberately written the work to be accessible / appreciated by anyone, wherever they sit on the climate debate. I'm glad the author hasn't followed the current trend in self narrating, as the narration by John Lee is excellent; engaging, well paced, energetic in parts and the one liners are delivered perfectly, which all makes for an easy listen (I finished this one in just a couple days).

As some who will freely admit to being in the 'we're doomed!' camp, this book not only made me appreciate more where others are coming from, and how to communicate with them better, it also gave me quite a few areas for self reflection and re-evaluation of my own position. So whichever angle you're approaching this work from, internal, external, staunch denier or full on 'doomer' - I think you'll take something worthwhile from this one, in short, recommended!

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Yep

I think anyone who has recognised the gradual decline in the natural world's health, who is concerned about the speed of which it's health is deteriorating and the potential impacts of this decline on all life on earth, should listen to this book...

Helpful to understand how best to get global cooperation underway.

Good luck to us all ✌🏾

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating look at a diverse range of aspects

Very Interesting take on climate change issues that I had not thought about before. Makes me question how I think about it and communicate with others.

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We're going to need a bigger boat

The psychological aspects of this existential challenge are engagingly explored here. Thought provoking but not exactly hope inducing as solutions appear elusive on the scale required.

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Outstanding. Depressing with glimmer of hope

To say the book is enjoyable sounds glib, as the topic is so crushingly grim. Yet it's not the author who is at fault, but a subject matter all the more serious for being largely ignored by humankind.
It isn't a description of the mess we're in but a thoughtful analysis of why we find it so difficult to call a climate crisis a climate crisis.
It ends on a minor key of optimism, as any book on the topic must. If all we can do is to fold our arms and await the end, no-one would bother to put finger to keyboard.
Thank you George Marshall for an intelligent and human perspective on our predicament.

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Indispensable

If you want to get more people to care and to take significant action on Climate Change this book is absolutely indispensable for you.

While reading the book on its own is very enjoyable and interesting, if you really want to get the most out of this book I recommend taking notes of all the useful information, particularly towards the end when solutions are proposed. This might be easier to do with the text version than the audio version.

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Psychological study of Climate Denial

Interesting, well researched book with some good ideas in it. But its tedious at times, perhaps repetitive. The author is a bit apologetic and pessimistic. He seems to ignore the basic issue that the public have been hoodwinked by the fossil fuel lobby into thinking that climate change is not the critical, urgent issue that it is. And to overlook the basic fact that it is political leadership that is really needed here. Well written and read and if you can stay the distance there are some useful ideas here.

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Great book.

Very good book which is required reading for all but I did find the narrator hard to listen to so I would have prepared to perhaps have read this book and not listened to it.

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Extremely interesting and well narrated

The narration was excellent and very engaging and the book itself was interesting and well written.

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Wonderful voice

The narration is brilliantly smooth, and the content is wholly intriguing and thought-provoking. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially if you like psychology, climate science, and fresh ideas

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  • Eric L, Montreal
  • 08-04-15

Extremely creative and thought-provoking

This is not your typical book about climate change. It is about how our psychological, cognitive and social nature as human beings deals and can deal with a phenomenon such as climate change. A very useful complement to Naomi Klein's This changes everything. The narration is intelligent and engaging.

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  • Ross
  • 20-03-17

Long overdue

I've been following this area of thinking for a while and not till now have I come across such an insightful perspective that looks at this issue from angles and gets at the nub of it. Well done and I hope those in policy get exposed to it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 27-02-17

Book makes a difference!

Since 1994, I have experienced "Why the heck are we not jumping up and down with our pants on fire about climate change at this exact moment of now." This book explains why in that as biological human animals, we are hard wired to eat now, be comfortable now, and only worry about catastrophe that may or may not happen in 10 years. With this new awareness that I am an animal, I am reducing my carbon footprint at a faster rate. This was only one facet of greatness of the book. Totally great book.

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  • Dana Pearson
  • 23-04-15

Amazing insights into communication and survival

Marshall does a stellar job of illustrating the difficulty of effectively communicating the criticality of global warming. He gets into all the inappropriate and ineffective framings, policies, and contrary forces at work to deride and derail effective action.

The psychologies of denial and avoidance are thoroughly discussed as well as the difficulty in addressing this mega complex problem. I found myself constantly challenged and scratching my head but by the end realized why we've failed to date and the importance of framing the issues farm better if we're to survive.

This is a great book. I spend my life communicating about these issues and more better understand that framing is everything and we've been out gunned by the dirty energy companies at every turn... But this can... NO! This Needs to be corrected immediately if we're to jabbering a livable place to live going forward.

Anyone active or interested in climate, the future, how to create a better world should listen/read this book... Ultimately we want to bring people together in a tsunami of change... This will help get us there.

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  • Jay
  • 22-04-19

Enlightening, Disturbing, and Necessary

As someone who reads and writes about climate change, I really found this to be the most useful material I've seen or heard on our human reactions to the ongoing climate change. This book is about the conversation about climate change among activists, interested people, people who are resisting the topic, and the hard core of deniers, including politicians and "experts" that are highly compensated by the energy companies. Marshall talked to all these people and came up with sensible ideas for broadening the discussion of climate pollution and moving people to take action NOW. This is not a dry exposition on the topic--Marshall writes with humor and wisdom about his experiences while he wrote the book.The only discussion of the possible future we face is at the end of the book and it is very disturbing.

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  • Diane Dulmage
  • 02-03-19

<br /><br />Our Brains on Climate ...and communication

helpful to hear research on our psychological & socialogical issues around the challenging concept. useful recommendations for communicating better

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  • Shoe lover
  • 16-04-20

Don’t Even Think About It

Hard to follow at times but well worth listening through the last chapter where it all comes together.

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  • avid
  • 16-08-19

Sobering and constructive

The author provides an in-depth and comprehensive discussion of the multiple perspectives and approaches to the issue of climate change. While depressing, the book ends providing some direction and hope in what will be and it is our greatest challenge.

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  • Roger Hofer
  • 10-07-19

This is one of the best climate change books

I've listened to probably a hundred different climate change books, but this one was one of the most enlightening. It helped me understand better what is going on, and the author does all this in a light-hearted way that is funny at times. I highly recommend this book!

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  • Gina
  • 07-06-19

Easy without oversimplifying, a real eye-opener

This book provides insight into both sides of the climate debate, especially why so many deny that climate change exists, which has always baffled me. I recommend this book to anyone, no matter where you stand on the subject, because you will learn about not only the people around you, but yourself, too, and why we act the way we do. It is also excellently narrated and easy to follow with short chapters, the perfect book to listen to whilst commuting to work (or, now that summer is approaching, relaxing on the beach?).